Electronic Taster Has A Nose For Coffee

An "electronic taster" for coffee has been developed by Swiss researchers. The food industry regards machines like this as essential for good quality control. Coffee presents a real challenge; roasted coffee aroma is composed of more than 1000 volatile organic compounds.


(From Coffee tasting machine diagram)

The researchers started by having a team of ten trained human taste testers go over a set of samples, and assess the taste and aromatic qualities of the coffee. The espresso coffees selected for this study were blended mainly from different Arabica varieties with some Robusta. They used a Quantitative Descriptive Analysis, consisting of nine aroma and two taste attributes scored on a scale ranging from 0 (not intense) to 10 (very intense) for each product by monadic sensory evaluation. They expressed their judgment in terms like roasted, flowery, woody, and toffee.

The researchers created a device that would heat a sample of espresso and then analyze the gases released by monitoring the headspace over the device. The chemical information was then translated into the taste qualities used by the human judges. The result for each sample was a unique profile (see profiles below). The red colored outline represents the results of the human testing.


(From Coffee tasting machine sample profiles)
-red colored outline represents human test results-

The coffee-tasting machine research will appear in the March 1st issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry.

Science fiction writers have been thinking about machines with a sense of smell for a long time. In his classic 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury created the chilling mechanical hound that guarded the fire station:

Nights when things got dull, which was every night, the men slid down the brass poles, and set the ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound and let loose rats in the fire house area-way. Three seconds later the game was done...
(Read more about Ray Bradbury's mechanical hound)

Another attempt to visualize sniffer robots and assign them a practical task is found in the 1985 movie Runaway by Michael Crichton. In the film, detectives use a four-legged sniffer robot to find and identify trace compounds at a crime scene (see Crichton's sniffer robot from Runaway).

If you have a nose for this sort of news, read on:

From When Machine Tastes Coffee: Instrumental Approach To Predict the Sensory Profile of Espresso Coffee [pdf] via Eurekalert.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/21/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Food ")

Chowbotics Salad Robot, Sally
'... gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912.

Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater
'Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1961.

In Vitro Meatballs For SciFi Spaghetti
'Large laboratories in every city had produced synthetic food and meats, grown in large test tubes..." - David H. Keller, 1933.

7-Eleven Drone Delivers Chix Sandwich And Slurpee
'It was a smooth ovoid floating a few inches from the floor...'- H. Beam Piper, 1962.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.